When Mario Vargas showed up at the Washington, D.C., offices of representatives from his home state of Ohio in July, he shared stories from farmworkers who are getting sick from pesticides. Joined by his daughter and girlfriend, they made the rounds talking about how it feels to inhale pesticides while pregnant, how farmworkers don’t know what their basic rights are, and how many workers are afraid to tell the truth about what is really going on in the fields. Read more
Earlier this month, USDA welcomed in the new year by presenting Dow AgroSciences with a bountiful gift: A virtual green light for the pesticide company’s new genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean seeds. These crops are designed specifically to be used with Dow’s infamous herbicide, 2,4-D. Read more
It’s a tolerable 40 degrees in Mount Dora, Florida, where 18-year-old Selena Zelaya is from. Instead of hanging out with friends or working at her part-time job at McDonald’s, Zelaya braved the freezing temperatures in DC to lobby on an issue close to her heart: Farmworker protections. It’s her second time lobbying in DC on this issue. Read more
Nobody told Reina Lemus de Zelaya that her job as a farmworker was hazardous not only to her health, but to her unborn child. So when Lemus de Zelaya was pregnant with one of her daughters, she continued working in the agricultural fields in Florida. Not only was she continually exposed to pesticides while pregnant, when her daughter was born she even brought her baby to the fields in a stroller. No one warned her to do otherwise. Read more
Inaction? Intransigence? Negligence? Whatever the right word, we’re reminded that the U.S. is behind the curve when it comes to protecting bees. Yesterday, Europe’s restrictions on bee-harming pesticides went into effect. Today, in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times and six other major papers, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and over 60 other food, farm, faith, and investor groups called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to protect bees. Read more
Keeping politicians on message can sometimes be difficult. That also holds true of corporate chiefs and movie stars. Even the most seasoned, media-savvy folks veer off their talking points on occasion. But that’s not the case with the pesticide industry and its clientele. Read more
With other options exhausted over the past two years, beekeepers and partner organizations are now suing EPA to protect pollinators. We’ve filed over a million signatures from concerned individuals, a legal petition and a notice of intent to sue. And all to little avail. Now we’re upping the ante. Read more
A growing number of people in the United States are becoming interested in organic food and farming, and the known and undiscovered risks of using pesticides in conventional agriculture is one of the main issues driving this movement. Yet most people are unaware that once a pesticide is pulled off the market because it is shown to have dangerous effects on peoples’ health and the environment, we allow corporations to continue manufacturing and exporting that pesticide to other countries–even just a few feet across our borders.
This horrendous US policy is what inspired our team to create the documentary, Toxic Profits, a film exploring the use of toxic pesticides in modern agriculture and the people most affected by this practice. I first learned about this issue as a law student doing research on the USDA’s National Organic Program, but it wasn’t until I was in Guatemala earlier this year that I saw the health and environmental harm that the global pesticide industry is causing. My trip inspired me to bring national attention to this issue, so I teamed up with my good friend and filmmaker Nick Capazzera, and my partner, chef and sociologist Shannon Post, to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to make this film. Read more
Today is Memorial Day, a day when many across the country will stop and remember the meaning of military service and the ultimate sacrifice so many gave—and are still giving. Remembering is what the day is all about. And yet sometimes we can do more than reflect. We can honor vets by listening when they speak, and acting at their urging. Right now, they’re talking–and they’re asking for our help on an issue important to every one of us.
Center for Food Safety strongly supports last week’s Vietnam Veterans of America appeal to President Obama on the hazards of 2,4-D resistant corn, developed by Dow Chemical Company, to dramatically increase use of the company’s toxic 2,4-D herbicide. Make no mistake, this is an effort rooted in profit and market dominance, not science. The Vietnam vets of this nation know all too well the price to be paid when the truth is hidden from sight. Read more
A new coalition is trying to throw sand in the gears of industrial agriculture’s chemical treadmill. And this one just may have what it takes to slow it down. I’m referring to the fight over USDA approval for Dow AgroScience’s new genetically modified corn seeds (brand name “Enlist”), which are resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D.
This is part of biotech’s “superweed” strategy, by which they hope to address the fact that farmers across the country are facing an onslaught of weeds impervious to the most popular herbicide in use, Monsanto’s glyphosate or RoundUp (and in some cases impervious to machetes as well!). Of course, this is a problem of the industry’s own making. It was overuse of glyphosate caused by the market dominance of Monsanto’s set of glyphosate-resistant genetically engineered seeds that put farmers in this fix in the first place. Read more